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Eliseo Lopez

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LOPEZ, Eliseo Mr. Eliseo Lopez, 92, of Atlanta Georgia, died November 11, 2010. Eliseo "Cheo" Lopez was a decorated wartime hero and Bataan Death March Survivor. Born in Springer, New Mexico, he joined the US Army with the 200th Coast Artillery (Anti-aircraft) Regiment, trained at Fort Bliss, Texas, and deployed to Manila. Following the December 8, 1941 Japanese attack on Clark Field, Luzon, Philippine Islands, Sgt. Lopez was one of approximately 500 men drawn from the ranks of the 200th Coast Artillery into the first battle-born unit of World War II, the 515th Coast Artillery (Anti-aircraft). After they were ordered to surrender by their commanding officers on April 9, 1942, Eliseo and 70,000 US and Filipino soldiers began the March of Death to Camp O'Donnell. He and other prisoners were subsequently moved to Cabanatuan prison camp where he remained until March 6, 1944. He was then sent to Old Bilibid Prison in Manila for processing before being loaded onto the Hell Ship Taikoku Maru which left Manila on March 24, 1944, arriving in Japan, on April 11, 1944. He and his fellow prisoners were slave laborers for the Hitachi Copper Mine. On August 14, 1944, Eliseo was among 230 prisoners removed from Hitachi to Ashio prison camp which held Americans, Dutch, British and Chinese prisoners to labor in yet another copper mine before finally being rescued in September 1945, one month after the war formally ended. After the war, Eliseo married Katherine Young of Las Vegas, New Mexico. Her brother Robert was also a 200th Coast Artillery man who was lost in the October 24, 1944 sinking of the Hell Ship Arisan Maru. Eliseo was a CPA and an officer and director for over 40 years for the companies of Benjamin Clayton and later at the Clayton Foundation for Research, a nonprofit medical research organization in Houston, TX. In 2003, Eliseo was recognized as Alabama Ex-POW Veteran of the Year by the National Veterans Day Organization of Birmingham, AL. Survivors include his spouse, Katherine Lopez, daughters, Margaret McMenimen, Cambridge, MA and her husband Brian McMenimen, Susan Mulligan, MD, Atlanta, GA and her husband Mark Mulligan, MD, grandchildren, Rachel Mulligan, Patrick Mulligan, brothers, Mike Lopez, sisters, Martha Pacheco and Theresa Lopez. Services will be held Thursday, November 18, 2010 at Santa Fe National Cemetery, Santa Fe, NM, with full military honors. Memorials to: Bataan-Corregidor Memorial Foundation of New Mexico, Inc., PO Box 30966, Albuquerque, NM 87910-0966.
Published in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution from Nov. 14 to Nov. 15, 2010
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